tv [untitled] April 14, 2011 10:30pm-11:00pm PDT
he is the co-founder of the oakland local. >> i'm going to play devil's advocate a little bit here. you cover your local community. do you feel at all, as a non- profit, a bit -- dare i say -- not threatened, but some kind of competition has come in from the big boys? you were having a nice conversation earlier. i listen in. do you see yahoo! going local, for example, as a plus, or do you see them as competition? how did you see that? >> first, full disclosure, yahoo! is a content partner for oakland local. they distribute our content on
their website. there is some back and forth. some people are wondering what the corporate industries are going to do in a hyperlocal space. i do think there is space for everyone to work together. one of the questions i'm interested in hearing about is whether the corporate entities are interested in working with local entities. we have been working with oakland for the last year-and-a- half, and i have a background in oakland activism, and it has still been difficult for us to get headway as an organization. that kind of community involvement takes a 24/7 kind of commitment. that is slightly different than the commitment it takes to run a yahoo! new site. i'm interested in with the challenges will be, but i'm much more interested in what the opportunities will be. if we keep saying in our own spaces and not asking how we work together, there will be a problem. right now, we have the opportunity to come to the table and ask how we work together. in another two or three years, i
did not think we will have that opportunity. >> how do you deal with those challenges in the mandarin and cantonese communities? then i can anthony just respond to that? he wanted to respond to that. >> more like build on what was being said, which was that actually, what we decided to build for local at yahoo! was an open platform. that is why oakland local is a partner of ours. we realized that it is not in our interests to hire somebody in every neighborhood. what we said was why don't we build a platform on which the myriad of local content providers that have begun to spring up can ride, and the key here is that they are looking for distribution. even patch is looking for distribution, and one thing yahoo! has is distribution. when yahoo! provides you with a platform, you see it.
publishers recognize that it is a fire hose. so we launched in october 30 neighborhoods. we are now up to about 400 neighborhoods in new york, san francisco, san jose, peninsula, a detroit suburb, and chicago. we are going to be launching in cleveland and dallas, end of april/early may, and as we iterate on product, we will get better, but the idea is that it is open, and it allows for publishers to publish their content on the platform, people to actually communicate and for dissipate on the platform, and for the original content if you want to do that. the exact reason that you mentioned, which is yahoo! is not going to know oakland better than oakland local, so why not have them be the voice, and we provide carriage for distribution?
>> [inaudible] >> [inaudible] challenges described, and are they similar in your community? >> we broadcast news on a seven- day basis. one hour of cantonese news and one hour of mandated -- one hour of mandarin is. challenges are daunting and hard to overcome here in the past, we were protected by our own language. we are the only game in town. but once you are online, that advantage will go away very quickly because those people will go on line -- everybody is your competitor. even if you have your language, there are hundreds of thousands of chinese websites. how do you overcome that? there is no silver bullet.
for me, i think the right thing to do is really build up your community. you empower your community. the part of your community, and people -- it is not the you have a story that only i reported it, which is great, but it is not going to happen every day. so what do you give your audience for your readers to keep them coming back to your site or tv station to try to find the news they want? it is really up to how you feel your community -- how you connect and go into your community, make your voice known, make my face known to my community. i think once you establish that, it is very hard to break it down. i think the key for us is really to even further build up our connection with all kinds of
community service, public service. have the community overcome the tragedy. that kind of stuff we are confident doing. i have no answer, but this is the way i think we may be going. coming back to the previous discussion before we entered the room, if there is only one thing i can deal with -- right now, everybody is doing thousands of day, but if there is only one thing i can do today, what is that thing that i want to do? with relation to my job. i want to make one you're happy seeing my report, seeing my stories on our channel. if i can do that one at a time, i think we are doing great. >> i used to write for the "palo alto daily news" which was at the time something called a hyperlocal newspaper. was very successful at the time.
my question is this comment about 100 possible news sites in san francisco, low cost of entry, low barriers come easy to use tools, no union, on a non. i wonder if the diffusion of interest of so many places is going to essentially always make it impossible for a single place to be financially viable on its own and impossible for professional journalism to exist, as in people can make a living wage as a journalist. if there are so many easy ways of getting so much news out that no single place can actually exist financially. i do not have a particular person. >> it is a great question. when i joined marketwatch 12 years ago, we had a free-lance rate of $300 per story, which was viewed as semi-obscene by
people who wrote for newspapers or magazines, which will often pay several thousand dollars for a peace, and thinking part of it was we did not have a lot of money. part of it was stories had a much shorter shelf life than something on a magazine, and over the course of 12 years, we have gradually climbed about $500 as we made more money and brought in a stronger stable of writers. people right now for the huffington posts are getting something like $15. the market has really degraded from even their, and it is very difficult to make money doing that. i have friends who are doing it, who are writing 10 stories a day just to get by. at the same time, the proliferation does make it very difficult for one small site to exist, right? our strategy in the old days was
to align ourselves with a big media company -- cbs. we align ourselves with yahoo! in some way and with ail -- aol in another way. you need the types of connections with more established or at least larger players in order to survive. the other reason is that the proliferation of sites has caused a change in the way people get their news. no longer do they just go to what we call destination sites, which was essentially a newspaper online. they are getting their news on facebook and google and bing and search engines. to be out there in that news sphere, you have to have different ways of attacking a and having connections and distribution arrangements. >> i would like to add that proliferation of new sites
creates more demand for content, which creates more opportunity for professional writers. before you think about going into news as a business as an independent publisher, you have to think about what the need is, if there is a need in that particular space for another site, and then how you distinguish yourself and the content you provide. i wanted to go back to the question about the funding investments in journalism. i have to agree with the gentleman who raised the issue that there does not seem to be a lot of appreciation and investment at this stage, but in journalism, our center is funded by the knight foundation, one of a handful of organizations supporting this kind of transition of traditional journalism into this new age. we have begun to look at funding from other organizations, and there seems to be an interest in
a particular handful of topics, including investigative reporting, business reporting, but there is a greater need for training in journalism to get journalists to understand this new environment we are working in, and also to educate the broader public about the need and public good that journalism serves and why it warrants investment from private investors as well as non-profit organizations. >> to the question about the huge influx of new sites, i think it is partially a question of scale. for example, i do not know -- i know very few hyper local sites that have full staff, but i know tons of individual bloggers who get paid to blog, and that is all they do, but they only focus
on small, really targeted niches. this could be the mission district in san francisco. a friend of mine only focuses on concord conservative, right- wing politics. i think you really have to know your audience. you have to know specifically what your niche is. and do not just look at yourself as reporters. look at everything that you have to offer, all of your skills, and see how you can serve the community better. one of the things we see is we do not think any time soon that just advertising is going to pay the bills, but we see a huge need for social media training, for people to learn how to do things online, and that is becoming just as much of a needed skill as an ad posted on our side bar. we want to serve oakland specifically, and we have taken all of our skills collectively to see how we stay afloat doing that. >> we have a number of people wanting to ask you questions, so
go ahead. >> in the 1800's, charles dickens wrote a novel about his trip to america called "martin chuzzelwit." he mentioned his exposure to newspapers. we know that the "new york times" is biased. we know that the "economist" is biased. "wall street journal" is now horribly bias. we kind of adjust our lenses here when you read online and you do not know the person is, it is difficult to know whether it is legitimate or not. newspapers eventually disappear and are no longer published in print, so they are just competing with everyone else. how do we establish -- how do we know -- how to newspapers establish credibility?
i saw this news reporter who put a piece on youtube about gavin newsom just walking away. so how did these organizations establish credibility? how are people able to see the problems with bias that will never come up? there is also a problem with advertisers, backers. a millionaire putting $500,000 or $1 million into a newspaper, and he will expect something in return. he may not want his coverage to be negative. so there are all these things. i wondered if anybody had any general comments about those. >> that is a really difficult problem.
if we think about the way we understand journalism today, it really is an historical aberration. that is not cutting back. we had objective journalism, which created shared narratives, but the truth is what we only saw was the narrative from a particular perspective. now, we have chaos. i'm not saying that is not a problem, but on the other hand, we need to think about the fact that we have a lot more voices and a lot more information, and we need to develop citizens that understand not only how to read a news story and understand it, but also know how to tell a story, understand how fact work, how confirmation works, how non-
fiction story telling works. that is a big challenge. we also need to develop procedures within the community of journalism in the new media that are as thoroughgoing and really comprehensive about the nature of the practice of journalism for the new media as they were in the newsroom, say, 20 years ago. >> i think one answer to the question of how we police bias, at least on line, is that online news is a conversation, right? that is one thing that is great about it. when you are talking about a piece that runs on line -- online that people can immediately start commenting about, people can start talking immediately about whatever biases they have identified, and the writer can jump in and start defending the position.
that is not possible in print. i think there's a sort of built in keeping-people-honest-ness about the medium. we want to report fairly at patch, but as we are asking people to share things about themselves, we want to share something about ourselves, so we ask our editors to actually talk about their beliefs. we encourage them to talk about their political and religious beliefs, as a nod to the fact that we think if you tell somebody your believes, you are forming them -- you them-- you are arming them to spot bias in your piece. if you pretend that your identity as possible, you can get in trouble potentially. >> the columbia journalism
review wrote a piece in october called "not watching sacramento" and there was a quotation about 80 full-time reporters and editors in sacramento in 1999. by 2010, there were only 35. he said, "this is a state with more than $1 trillion economy, 250,000 state employees, 10,000 schools, the biggest prison system in the country. there is a lot to cover, a lot of room for waste, fraud, and corruption, with just 35 reporters covering state government, it is very hard to keep up." let me ask you, what are politicians getting away with right now? [laughter] >> i do not know if we get away with this, but i do agree that the state of california, the people of california are not served well when we do not have
a robust media. the fact is that oftentimes, you have reporters who are not as experienced, may not have as many sources, and as a result, they end up being rather superficial in some of their ridings, and that is not a good thing. it is extremely important to have a robust media to hold all of us accountable. part of the solution is what you hear here, which is a catalyst of individuals in new media, different types of media, and i think that is extremely important. i would say, however, that one of the things that is extremely important is that all of these alternative media outlets begin to establish a code of ethical conduct, a code of professional conduct.
because what happens is that if you are simply giving your opinion, and that is not based on a lot of other confirmation of that observation, you are not doing anybody any service whatsoever. i think people tend to look at different news media has really trying to portray the truth. as what is the objective information that is out there. to the extent that it is not objective, but somehow, you create the impression that it is objective, you do not serve people well whatsoever. i think it is extremely important that the level or the quality of the information continues to be at the highest level regardless of what medium of information. >> and at a time when we have a $25 billion deficit and every social service you can name is getting cut, it is so important to have reporters in sacramento covering politicians, but also covering the activism that goes
on that hardly gets attention. there was an incredible disability rights action at the california republican convention a few weeks ago. you should all cd video. you have people in wheelchairs get on the ground that had signs that said, "tax the rich." attendees: to get jobs, through coins at them, called them retards. we are missing a lot when we do not see that there is a lot of activity going on. there is a lot more than the tea party, is what i'm saying, and we just do not see that coverage. can you talk about the changes you have seen in sacramento as the number of reporters has been cut in more than half? >> as i say, when you decrease the number of reporters and do not have as many seasoned reporters, the depth of the information decreases. and that is a serious problem. i think the solution is in fact
that we have to accept the economic realities that we have right now. that is that the normal business model of having print media -- that model is not sustainable. you have got to begin to reinvent that particular model and then in its place are these alternative news sources. you have to then ask the question whether or not they themselves can fill that particular role. we have to somehow get that information out to the general public. >> do we have more questions? >> it looks like i may be one of the only people here that does not remember what life was like before the internet. my generation has always had it. i have a question -- how do you
think that news organizations can promote the depth of perspective that comes with law reform journalism to younger readers like me that are accustomed to abbreviated media and mobile media like twitter and status updates and text messages -- that comes with long form of journalism. >> do any of your friends read newspapers? >> none of my friends read. [laughter] at all. then i can you -- >> can you answer that? >> that is the challenge of online is developing the news for online is that younger audiences are used to receiving information in short bits. that is why we trained journalists to understand how the audience consumption has
changed. and we know from studies that long forum is something that educated audiences are interested in reading and do read online. oftentimes, though, time is an issue, so it is about how you serve up that content, whether you serve it up using a variety of media, whether that be graphs and interactive maps, and there are a variety of ways to tell stories in episodes so that first, you drive the person back to your site to continue to consume the content. that is one of the things we teach, but you raise a good one in that the audience nowadays, both mitscher and young audiences, are expecting a different type of product with online news. that is something we have to work and training journalists, in terms of understanding and understanding how to use the tools to create the product.
>> anybody else want to try to tackle that? and the media people joke that every new former journalism has been a shorter format, more real time format. i think the history of newspapers to radio, television, to the internet, to mobile, to whatever comes next is not just a story of shorting formats, but a story of a multiplicity of formats. the amazing thing in san francisco is not that the "chronicle" is still here, but that it is still here and seven other levels of debt you want to consume the information that are available to you. all the old media are investing today in mobile the way they were struggling to learn internet fundamentals even 15 years ago. at the same time, they are being forced to do that because entrepreneurs specializing in mobile are showing them how it
is done. both kids and grown-ups are going to have the chance to read any format they want, and that is a bigger choice every passing year. >> as much as we focus on new media, it is important to point out that most people still rely on television for their news. right? >> that is precisely the point i wanted to make. you are not alone. america does not read. they do not. if you look at the numbers, the latest numbers or even look at the report on stateofthemedia.org, you will see that well over 60% of americans will cite television as their primary source of news. also, more and more americans are spending more time in transit, so they are either in their cars or on public transportation, so they are listening. the role of radio cannot be discounted either.
but again, there have been many ways to try to attract young readers. more recently, have you seen the vice guides to everything? it is a cross between ntt -- mtv's "jackass" and "60 minutes," targeted at an 18 to 25 demographic, which a lot of people in this industry are trying to reach. there are a lot of things out there in terms of investigative journalism that are trying to target younger people that are very creative, but just going back to your point about not reading or getting your news online, people are very lazy, you know? a lot of us do not even want to read, do not have time to read. we would much rather passively sit back and receive
information either via video or audio. >> you had something to ask? let me get behind you a little bit. >> i just wanted to bring in the aspect of social media in terms of this consumption. we are seeing with facebook and twitter, these are great drivers of traffic to news sites. the role that citizens have in terms of informing your network of friends and family about what is important, and we are seeing that people are relying more on individuals for recommendations or taking their cues from them about what is important, you know, with those links that you in bed in your twitter and facebook posts. this is a way to get people to focus on stories that are important to them as a community or individual or causes they are passionate about.
>> just to piggyback on what she was saying, we have to rearrange the way we think about news. we might not read 5000-word stories anymore, but i know in all my other friends will read 5000 suites that have to do with one particular issue -- 5000 tweets that have to do with one particular issue. there was a case where a policeman in oakland killed a young man, and most of the reporting that came out about the issue was the road to a degree, but it had a certain perspective. the conversation was turned into where are the people from these communities? why don't they read our stories? why did they not call into our shows? there were huge questions. honestly, nobody really thought to look too deeply into it, but we noticed that these people were reading and having those conversations and getting into debt, but they were not doing it on